Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

175 Inspiring Quotes by Fran Lebowitz

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Fran Lebowitz.

Wikipedia Summary for Fran Lebowitz

Frances Ann Lebowitz (born October 27, 1950) is an American author, public speaker, and occasional actor. She is known for her sardonic social commentary on American life as filtered through her New York City sensibilities. The New York Times has called her a modern-day Dorothy Parker. She is known for her books Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981), which were combined into The Fran Lebowitz Reader in 1994. She has been the subject of two projects directed by Martin Scorsese, the HBO documentary film Public Speaking (2010), and the Netflix docu-series Pretend It's a City (2021).

green leafed tree on snowfield under white cloudy sky at daytime

Food is an important part of a balanced diet.

--Fran Lebowitz


group of people waving their hands

In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.

--Fran Lebowitz

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

Raisins are a thing that lasts, they come in small boxes, and you always feel like eating raisins, even at six in the morning. A raisin is always an appropriate snack.

--Fran Lebowitz

pink petaled flower field

Do not, on a rainy day, ask your child what he feels like doing, because I assure you that what he feels like doing, you won't feel like watching.

--Fran Lebowitz

man riding on boat on body of water

The downfall of most diets is that they restrict your intake of food.

--Fran Lebowitz

group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

Ever since I was a little child, I refused to see movies of books that I loved. Because you already know what Heidi looks like and she doesn't look like Shirley Temple.

--Fran Lebowitz

red rose

I, unfortunately, take the subway a lot. It's not my preference, but it is my lot in life.

--Fran Lebowitz

woman looking up to the sky while standing on white sand

Don't bother discussing sex with small children. They rarely have anything to add.

--Fran Lebowitz

yellow and white abstract painting

If there had been a job of being a reader, I would have taken that, because I love to read and I don't love to write. That would be blissful.

--Fran Lebowitz

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

Scientists -- the crowd that for dash and style make the general public look like the Bloomsbury set.

--Fran Lebowitz

body of water

No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.

--Fran Lebowitz



None

Presently it appears that people are mainly concerned with being well rested. Those capable of uninterrupted sleep are much admired. Unconsciousness is in great demand. This is the day of the milligram.

--Fran Lebowitz

Longer Version:

Presently it appears that people are mainly concerned with being well rested. Those capable of uninterrupted sleep are much admired. Unconsciousness is in great demand. This is the day of the milligram. The rigors of learning how to do long division have been a traditional part of childhood, just like learning to smoke. In fact, as far as I am concerned, the two go hand in hand. Any child who cannot do long division by himself does not deserve to smoke.


None

You can't go around hoping that most people have sterling moral characters. The most you can hope for is that people will pretend that they do.

--Fran Lebowitz

mountains under white clouds at daytime

Frenchman: Germans with good food.

--Fran Lebowitz

green leaf tree on shore

If you can stay in love for more than two years, you're on something.

--Fran Lebowitz

purple flower field during daytime

If thine enemy offends thee, give his child a drum.

--Fran Lebowitz


woman lying on pool

Your grandparents did not endure the indignities of a steerage journey to Ellis Island so that you could stand outside a discothèque and beg a wallpaper designer to take you in with him.

--Fran Lebowitz

purple flower in tilt shift lens

If you're going to America, bring your own food.

--Fran Lebowitz

grayscale photo of rock formation

I hate money. It is boring and it is arithmetic. The two things I hate the most.

--Fran Lebowitz


A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

Marriage entitles women to the protection of a strong man who will steady the stepladder while they paint the kitchen ceiling.

--Fran Lebowitz

assorted-colored cactus

It would also have been helpful to have gone to a Catholic grammar school. The only people who know grammar are those people who went to Catholic grammar school. Those nuns beat it into them.

--Fran Lebowitz


white wall paint beside white wall

I have the exact opposite problem of every writer I've ever met: Every writer I've ever met writes things that are too long, and they have to edit them down.

--Fran Lebowitz



men running toward beach

Writers get exactly the right amount of fame: just enough to get a good table in a restaurant but not enough so that people are constantly interrupting you while you're eating dinner.

--Fran Lebowitz

men running toward beach

I have known...only one really, really good writer in my life who loves to write. Only one...Most people who love to write are horrible writers, so of course they love to write.

--Fran Lebowitz

aerial photography of pine trees with mist

There is one thing that has disappeared, not just from the U.S. but from the entire world, is the idea of ever being embarrassed by anything.

--Fran Lebowitz

Arizona landscape

There's no such thing as advice to the lovelorn. If they took advice, they wouldn't be lovelorn.

--Fran Lebowitz

Longer Version:

There's no such thing as advice to the lovelorn. If they took advice, they wouldn't be lovelorn. You see, advice and lovelorn don't go together. Because advice makes love sound like some sort of cognitive activity, but we know that it isn't. We all know that it's some sort of horrible chemical reaction over which we have absolutely no control. And that's why advice doesn't work.



selective focus photo of brown guitar on white pillow

Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house.

--Fran Lebowitz

red textile in close up photography

It's very important who the president of the United States is. America is a great idea, so that's why it's a great country.

--Fran Lebowitz

moon near mountain ridge

If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater suggest that he wear a tail.

--Fran Lebowitz

brown leaf tree facing the lake

The telephone is a good way to talk to people without having to offer them a drink.

--Fran Lebowitz

photo of mountains

Why not have your first baby at sixty, when your husband is already dead and your career is over? Then you can really devote yourself to it.

--Fran Lebowitz

sunset

Contrary to what many of you may imagine, a career in letters is not without its drawbacks -- chief among them the unpleasant fact that one is frequently called upon to sit down and write.

--Fran Lebowitz

silhouette of flower during sunset

When I was young, I liked romance. But to me, romance is the opposite of domestic life. I just don't want anyone in the apartment, not for longer than a few hours.

--Fran Lebowitz

blue rose in close up photography

What I can't be is monogamous. That tends to upset people. I just don't like domestic life.

--Fran Lebowitz

bird's eye view photography of trees and body of water

If you have a burning restless urge to paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.

--Fran Lebowitz

brown and black butterfly on pink flower

A woman's quest in life should be to find the perfect apartment. And I have found the perfect apartment. The perfect apartment is the first floor of the Metropolitan Museum. With a sofa.

--Fran Lebowitz

brown sands

Magazines all too frequently lead to books and should be regarded by the prudent as the heavy petting of literature.

--Fran Lebowitz

blue and white abstract painting

It's very disheartening to encounter a fearful twenty-one year old. They haven't earned the right to be that afraid. It's not like we're living in war-torn Bosnia or something.

--Fran Lebowitz


red and black floral textile

If you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would pretty much be left with "Let's Make a Deal.

--Fran Lebowitz

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

Communists all seem to wear small caps, a look I consider better suited to tubes of toothpaste than to people.

--Fran Lebowitz



silhouette photo of six persons on top of mountain

Civilised adults do not take apple juice with dinner.

--Fran Lebowitz

forest trees photograph

The conversational overachiever is someone whose grasp exceeds his reach. This is possible but not attractive.

--Fran Lebowitz

shallow focus photography of books

You're only as good as your last haircut.

--Fran Lebowitz

blue sky with white clouds

If, while watching the sun set on a used-car lot in Los Angeles, you are struck by the parallels between this image and the inevitable fate of humanity, do not, under any circumstances, write it down.

--Fran Lebowitz

person cooking on seashore

Polite conversation is rarely either.

--Fran Lebowitz

blue and white floral textile

Twenty-four-hour room service generally refers to the length of time that it takes for the club sandwich to arrive. This is indeeddisheartening, particularly when you've ordered scrambled eggs.

--Fran Lebowitz


empty seashore near high-rise building

All the time I'm not writing I feel like a criminal. It's horrible to feel felonious every second of the day. It's much more relaxing to actually write.

--Fran Lebowitz


silhouette photo of mountain during night time

How do you know if your child is a writer? Your obstetrician holds his stethoscope to your abdomen and only hears excuses.

--Fran Lebowitz

gray cactus plant on white pot

Inhabitants of underdeveloped nations and victims of natural disasters are the only people who have ever been happy to see soybeans.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

New York City is filled with the same kind of people I left New Jersey to get away from.

--Fran Lebowitz

silhouette of man standing on rock while looking in sky

Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publications.

--Fran Lebowitz

starry night in Texas

Middle class was defined by having certain values and only a certain amount of money. But this new middle class seems to have absolutely no values and an unlimited amount of money.

--Fran Lebowitz



grayscale photo of rock formation

Life is so absurd now that it is almost impossible to be a satirist in this era.

--Fran Lebowitz

silhouette of trees during sunset

It's much easier to write a solemn book than a funny book. It's harder to make people laugh than it is to make them cry. People are always on the verge of tears.

--Fran Lebowitz

woman standing on sunflower field

My dream writing room would be the Imperial Library in Vienna.

--Fran Lebowitz

silhouette of stones during golden hour

To put it rather bluntly, I am not the type who wants to go back to the land; I am the type who wants to go back to the hotel.

--Fran Lebowitz

common sunflower

Think before you speak. Read before you think.

--Fran Lebowitz

yellow flower field near mountain during daytime

On not reading newspapers: If something important happens, your mother calls you.

--Fran Lebowitz

desert grassland

I'm not interested in being a wife. I'm interested in being an empress.

--Fran Lebowitz



orange leaves tree

I'm such a slow writer I have no need for anything as fast as a word processor. I don't need anything so snappy. I write so slowly that I could write in my own blood without hurting myself.

--Fran Lebowitz


high-angle photography of beach side

I place a high moral value on the way people behave. I find it repellent to have a lot, and to behave with anything other than courtesy in the old sense of the word -- politeness of the heart, a gentleness of the spirit.

--Fran Lebowitz


long exposure photography of lights

I'm not a nervous person. I'm not afraid to be on TV. I'm only afraid when I write. When I'm at my desk I feel like most people would feel if they went on TV.

--Fran Lebowitz

three person looking stars and milky way

If your sexual fantasies were truly of interest to others, they would no longer be fantasies.

--Fran Lebowitz


silhouette photo of mountain during night time

Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you.

--Fran Lebowitz

shoreline during golden hour

I never took hallucinogenic drugs because I never wanted my consciousness expanded one unnecessary iota.

--Fran Lebowitz

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.

--Fran Lebowitz

white desk lamp beside green plant

I used to love to write. As a child I used to write all the time. I loved to write up until the second I got my first professional writing job. It turns out it's not that I hate to write. I hate, simply, to work.

--Fran Lebowitz

low-angle photo of white daisy

I never wanted to have any extra money, if it meant having to have any extra work.

--Fran Lebowitz

3 women playing soccer on green grass field during daytime

Will power is not telling anybody you quit smoking.

--Fran Lebowitz

photo of pine trees

Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly met.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

I am a New Yorker. I like New York. And I like cities. And it's not my desire to make New York more suburban. I would personally just like to vet each person.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

Do not have your child's hair cut by a real hairdresser in a real hairdressing salon. He is, at this point, far too short to be exposed to contempt.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

China is not a great idea: capitalism and a dictator. It's like the two worst possible things you could imagine together. It's a very bad idea.

--Fran Lebowitz

stars across the sky view at the desert

New York's not exactly antiseptic. It could be clean and less dangerous, and not horrible, not under a tidal wave of tourists.

--Fran Lebowitz

purple flowered hedge plants

When it comes to sports I am not particularly interested. Generally speaking, I look upon them as dangerous and tiring activities performed by people with whom I share nothing except the right to trial by jury.

--Fran Lebowitz

sunset

Food is definitely important part of your balanced diet.

--Fran Lebowitz

forest trees photograph

There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness and death.

--Fran Lebowitz

Longer Version:

There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness or death. Any attempt to prove otherwise constitutes unacceptable behavior.


beach during daytime

The best fame is a writer's fame. It's enough to get a table at a good restaurant, but not enough to get you interrupted when you eat.

--Fran Lebowitz



yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

Designer clothes worn by children are like snowsuits worn by adults. Few can carry it off successfully.

--Fran Lebowitz

people walking on hallway

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.

--Fran Lebowitz

sea during daytime

I believe that at birth everyone gets the capacity for a certain amount of drugs and alcohol, everyone the same, you can do it all between 15 and 19 like I did, or you can stretch it out over 70 years.

--Fran Lebowitz

forest and body of water

Because I was young, I had this long hair, and people used to try to tip me with joints.

--Fran Lebowitz

Arizona landscape pines

Breakfast cereals that come in the same colors as polyester leisure suits make oversleeping a virtue.

--Fran Lebowitz

person on road at sunset

I never met anyone who didn't have a very smart child. What happens to these children, you wonder, when they reach adulthood?

--Fran Lebowitz

None

There are certain relationships I think I'm great at: I'm the world's greatest daughter. I'm a great relative. I believe I'm a great friend.

--Fran Lebowitz

white stars in the sky during night time

Contrary to popular opinion, the hustle is not a new dance step -- it is an old business procedure.

--Fran Lebowitz

white stars in the sky during night time

There are some short essays that are very grave, and most contemporary novels are lighter than air.

--Fran Lebowitz

sunset

White grapes are very attractive but when it comes to dessert people generally like cake with icing.

--Fran Lebowitz

white pendant lamp

Women who insist upon having the same options as men would do well to consider the option of being the strong silent type.

--Fran Lebowitz

galaxy wallpaper

The thing you love right away, don't do it, because that's the very thing that's going to be your addiction for the rest of your life.

--Fran Lebowitz

sunset with storm clouds

Special-interest publications should realize that if they are attracting enough advertising and readers to make a profit, the interest is not so special.

--Fran Lebowitz

brown mountain at nighttime

Spilling your guts is just exactly as charming as it sounds.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

While it is undeniably true that people love a surprise, it is equally true that they are seldom pleased to suddenly and without warning happen upon a series of prunes in what they took to be a normal loin of pork.

--Fran Lebowitz

sunset highway

The first people who died of AIDS were artists. They were the most interesting people.

--Fran Lebowitz

photo of pine trees

The Italians are the most civilized people. And they're very warm. Basically, they're Jews with great architecture.

--Fran Lebowitz

grayscale photography of elephant

I am alternately very gregarious -- very sociable -- and then very solitary.

--Fran Lebowitz


white wooden hut during daytime

Screenwriting is not an artform, it is a punishment from God.

--Fran Lebowitz

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

I never would start writing before midnight and I would finish at, like, seven in the morning.

--Fran Lebowitz


white flowers

Friendships are easy to get out of compared to love affairs, but they are not easy to get out of compared to, say, jail.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

If you read a lot, nothing is as great as you've imagined. Venice is -- Venice is better.

--Fran Lebowitz


gray and white concrete floor

Notoriously insensitive to subtle shifts in mood, children will persist in discussing the color of a recently sighted cement-mixer long after one's own interest in the topic has waned.

--Fran Lebowitz

yellow green leaf

Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.

--Fran Lebowitz

selective photography of green leaf plant

The only appropriate response to the question, 'Can I be frank?' is, 'Yes, if I can be Barbara.

--Fran Lebowitz

grassland

Favorite animal: steak.

--Fran Lebowitz

person holding dried beans

I do not believe in God. I believe in cashmere.

--Fran Lebowitz

yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

If you are truly serious abut preparing your child for the future, don't teach him to subtract -- teach him to deduct.

--Fran Lebowitz

green trees under blue sky at daytime

The great thing about New Jersey is that it's close to New York.

--Fran Lebowitz


aerial photography of beach

I've never had the experience of being edited and never will.

--Fran Lebowitz


purple and white clouds during night time

If you live in New York and you have a guest room, you have guests. So I think it's best not to have a guest room.

--Fran Lebowitz

bird's eye view photography of trees and body of water

To lose yourself in a book is the desire of the bookworm. I mean to be taken. That is my desire.

--Fran Lebowitz



silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

For the movie review columns, I always knew exactly what I was going to write about -- the movies.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

Being poor is like being a child. Being rich is like being an adult: you get to do whatever you want. Everyone is nice when they have to be; rich people are nice when they feel like it.

--Fran Lebowitz



white wall paint with black line

When I started publishing, I got offers to write for big magazines. But I would always say, "Well, it's not that I don't want to write for these big magazines, but you can't edit it.

--Fran Lebowitz

brown wooden dock under night sky

I have a double policy, which would also solve immigration: I would stand at the border of New York City and I would say, "You can come here to live, but you can't come here to visit.

--Fran Lebowitz

selective focus photo of iceberg on large body of water at winter

On parenthood: You can't change your mind -- you know, and say, this isn't working out, let's sell.

--Fran Lebowitz


person walking on snowfield

Bread that must be sliced with an axe is bread that is too nourishing.

--Fran Lebowitz

mountains covered with fog

Never relinquish clothing to a hotel valet without first specifically telling him that you want it back.

--Fran Lebowitz

brown mountains under blue sky

Los Angeles is a large city-like area surrounding the Beverly Hills Hotel.

--Fran Lebowitz

body of water surrounded with plants under cloudy sky

I don't care if New York avoided bankruptcy by substituting tourism for the garment business.

--Fran Lebowitz

black mountain under blue sky during night time

Television turned out to be exactly as bad as the most irritating and pedantic intellectuals of the '50s said it was going to be.

--Fran Lebowitz

Arizona landscape

Abandon the search for Truth; settle for a good fantasy.

--Fran Lebowitz

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

Violet will be a good color for hair at just about the same time that brunette becomes a good color for flowers.

--Fran Lebowitz

black textile in close up photography

The 3 questions of greatest concern are:, 1) Is it attractive?, 2) Is it amusing?, 3) Does it know its place?

--Fran Lebowitz

closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

That which we call civilization is merely the accumulated debris of a chilling number of bad nights.

--Fran Lebowitz

orange and white floor tiles

New York was always more expensive than the other places, even when it was going bankrupt. In other words, in 1971, New York was expensive for someone with no money. For anyone.

--Fran Lebowitz


two blue beach chairs near body of water

I must take issue with the term 'a mere child,' for it has been my invariable experience that the company of a mere child is infinitely preferable to that of a mere adult.

--Fran Lebowitz

None

People have been cooking and eating for thousands of years, so if you are the very first to have thought of adding fresh lime juice to scalloped potatoes try to understand that there must be a reason for this.

--Fran Lebowitz

red textile on brown wooden table

There were a zillion bad jobs. That doesn't exist any more. I mean, I could wake up one afternoon with zero money and know that by the end of the day, I would have money.

--Fran Lebowitz



blue and white striped textile

Nature is by and large to be found out of doors, a location where, it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs.

--Fran Lebowitz

blue and white striped textile

I'm sure that being sober all these years accounts for my ill humor.

--Fran Lebowitz

selective focus photo of green snake plant

I love sleep because it is both pleasant and safe to use.

--Fran Lebowitz

Longer Version:

I love sleep because it is both pleasant and safe to use. Pleasant because one is in the best possible company and safe because sleep is the consummate protection against the unseemliness that is the invariable consequence of being awake. What you don't know won't hurt you. Sleep is death without the responsibility.


two mugs of brown liquids

Andy Warhol made fame more famous.

--Fran Lebowitz

forest trees photograph

American women think that clothes fit them if they can fit into them. But that's not at all what fit means.

--Fran Lebowitz

grayscale photography of pug

I'd like to decide who comes here. I'd like to be the admissions director of New York.

--Fran Lebowitz

landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

Now the culture is made of old things, it's a collage. Art made out of art is not art. You're supposed to make art out of life.

--Fran Lebowitz

gray building

A hobby is, of course, an abomination, as are all consuming interests and passions that do not lead directly to large, personal gain.

--Fran Lebowitz

Arizona landscape

Any artist who has that quality of timelessness has that quality because they tell the truth.

--Fran Lebowitz

pink and yellow flower painting

Children do not really need money. After all, they don't have to pay rent or send mailgrams.

--Fran Lebowitz

blue and white abstract painting

Democracy is an interesting, even laudable, notion and there is no question but that when compared to Communism, which is too dull, or Fascism, which is too exciting, it emerges as the most palatable form of government.

--Fran Lebowitz

We wish you a perfect day!